Getting the Best of Gout

Today and throughout history, many people have been affected by a very common form of arthritis called gout. Gout, like all types of arthritis, causes pain and swelling in the joints. It is distinct from other forms of the disorder because it has a particular cause and a specific set of symptoms.

What Causes Gout?

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a product that your body produces after it breaks down certain types of foods. Some of the foods that contribute to uric acid build-up include:

  • Shellfish
  • Organ Meats (kidneys, liver, etc.)
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Alcohol

What Parts of the Body Does Gout Affect?

Uric acid accumulates in the body in the form of crystals that tend to end up being stored in the joints. Once the crystals accumulate, they cause the joints to swell and become very uncomfortable. You can potentially identify gout by a sudden onset of severe joint pain and red swollen joints. Most often the condition affects the toes, but it is not impossible for it to have a painful effect on:

  • Ankles
  • Heels
  • Knees
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Achilles Heal

How is Gout Treated?

Currently there is not a cure for gout, and most people who have an initial outbreak are likely to have a second in their lifetime. The condition is very treatable however. Gout treatment generally comes down to a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

  • Medication- There are two types of medication that are generally prescribed to patients who have gout. Particular medication choices will be left up to your doctor.
    • Anti-Inflammatory- Due to the fact that gout causes swelling, one of the types of medication that you receive will be prescribed specifically to reduce the swelling. This will help to alleviate pain and make functioning a little easier for you.
    • Lower Uric Acid- The second type of medication that you receive will work to help your body produce less uric acid. As too much uric acid is the original cause of the condition, this medication will likely be taken for longer periods of time (compared to the anti-inflammatory), if not on a constant basis.
  • Lifestyle- Like many medical conditions your lifestyle can play a significant role in developing and treating gout.
    • Weight Loss- Gout represents yet another medical condition that can be worsened by carrying too much weight. Trimming down will help to reduce the number of recurrences–and it is good for you.
    • Diet- You will have to eliminate some of the foods listed above from your diet in order to reduce the chances of future outbreaks. With some of the foods, the answer will be enjoying them in moderation as opposed to abstinence.
    • Alcohol- Consuming alcoholic beverages in excess can be a leading factor in developing gout. Reducing, if not eliminating, alcohol in your diet is an effective means of warding off future incidents.

If you are experiencing severe joint pain and swelling, gout may be the problem. It is highly recommended that you seek a proper diagnosis from a trained medical professional to confirm your condition. Feel free to call 1-888-741-5119 for answers to basic medical questions and a free physician referral in Hudson, New Port Richey or all of West Central Florida.

Sources:

Medicinenet

Gout and Uric Acid Education Society

Medicinenet

Arthritis Insight

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  1. Pingback: Arthritis-Friendly Exercise | Regional Medical Center – Bayonet Point

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